The Trump administration on Friday sanctioned nearly 40 Russian government officials, oligarchs and the businesses they own or control in its latest round of sanctions leveled in response to Moscow’s aggression.
Friday’s sanctions, which target Russian security services, energy czars and weapons companies, come in response to Russia’s “malign activity across the world,” a senior administration official said, noting Russia’s occupation of Crimea in Ukraine, support of the Bashar Assad dictatorship in Syria, subversion of Western democracies and continued belligerent cyber attacks.
In total, the administration sanctioned 38 Russian entities, including seven oligarchs and the 12 companies they own or manage, 17 government officials, a state-owned arms company and its subsidiary bank.
Friday’s sanctions take aim at Russia’s energy sector. Alexey Miller, chairman of Russia’s powerful state-run oil company Gazprom, was individually sanctioned, as was Gazprom’s oil and gas exploration wing Gazprom Burenie.
The sanctions also look to weaken Russia’s ability to export violence. They hit state-owned weapon’s trading company Rosoboroneksport, which the administration says supplies weapons to Assad’s forces.
Russia “chose to prop up the Assad regime, a regime that kills little kids with chemical weapons,” the senior administration official said. “Today’s actions are the result of Russian government decisions.”
Friday’s sanctions bring the total number of Russian-related entities sanctioned by the Trump administration to 189.
If it chooses to, though, Moscow can reverse the trend of increasing sanctions, according to administration officials.
“We seek a better relationship with Russia, that can only happen when Russia stops its aggressive behavior,” a senior administration official said. “The door of dialogue is open.”
The sanctions follow news this week that President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are considering a White House meeting.